So, this episode happened. Long story short, I didn’t care for it. If you did, then you probably don’t want to read below, as I spell out the reasons why I thought this was lousy. I’m hoping this is just a transition episode, and that the show will move on just fine.
Preacher – Episode 1.04
Title: Monster Swamp
Air Date: June 19, 2016
Writer: Sara Goodman
Director: Craig Zisk
Plot Points 10
- Lacey, one of the prostitutes from the local whorehouse, is playing some sort of live roleplaying game with Clive when she falls into a sinkhole causing her death. At the site of the sinkhole, Odin addresses the workers and the prostitutes and Tulip, basically taking no responsibility or looking for no accountability for Lacey’s death.
- In flashbacks, we start to learn about Jesse’s relationship with his father, as we see him helping out his father on Sunday mornings. Later we see him smoking with Tulip and two other boys, and his father whips him with a belt for it. Later, Jesse’s dad wakes him up in the middle of the night, where they drive to the office of Odin Quincannon. Jesse hears strange noises.
- Cassidy tries to talk to Jesse about the mysterious gentlemen from heaven, but Jesse doesn’t believe Cassidy. Cassidy meets with the two mysterious gentlemen, and is able to score some money off of them to ‘convince Jesse”.
- Jesse talks to Emily about his new plan for drumming up parishioners for the church. He wants to purchase a big screen television as part of a raffle, and he’s going to deliver a sermon.
- DeBlanc and Fiore’s plan is to remove the entity from within Jesse, put it back in the coffee can, and return to Heaven before anyone realizes that they or the entity are missing.
- The Mayor, Miles, comes to visit Odin to talk about the death of Lacey, and Odin challenges that he met with the Green Acre group.
- Emily buys the television for Jesse’s plan, while Miles watches her kids. The two of them go to her bedroom afterwards.
- Tulip is hanging around the whorehouse, where a wake for Lacey is being held. After Clive goes upstairs, Tulip gets angry, rushes into a bedroom, and hits the person she thinks is Clive, but unfortunately it’s actually Cassidy. Tulip takes Cassidy to the hospital as his carotid artery is cut. Cassidy asks Tulip to kiss him on the way to the hospital, which she does. She takes Cassidy to the hospital where he finds a fridge with whole blood, and drinks it when Tulip finds him again.
- Jesse visits Odin Quincanon on a social visit, and offers to have Odin come to the church in exchange for Jesse selling his father’s land to Odin. Jesse’s plan is to save Odin in front of the congregation. Odin agrees and is in the church when Jesse gives his sermon.
- Back in the hotel room, Fiore is eating Cheetos. When the telephone rings, the telephone that they didn’t want to answer.
Things I hated – 9
I really didn’t like this episode, and here are the top 9 reasons why.
- So in the previous episode, Jesse learns that he should show restraint against Donnie, but in this episode he decides that forcibly changing the will of Odin Quincannon is “Something wonderful”?
- Let’s see, every single woman who had a speaking role in this episode was, in some way, reduced to just being a sexual object (or the product of being one). Emily and Tulip are supposed to be the good girls, the one’s we’re supposed to kindof like. And Emily is having sex with Miles in an enemies with benefits relationship, and Tulip is revealed to be the daughter of a prostitute. Both characters were really undermined in this episode.
- The kiss between Tulip and Cassidy. Why? I mean who passionately kisses someone who is being rushed to the hospital and is covered in blood.
- So Jesse is keeping his promise to an emotionally distant father who used to whip his behind with a belt in front of his friends, all because he was shot when he was about 10 or 11 years old? I’m not knee-jerk against corporal punishment in life or in fiction, but to do it just to set an example, doesn’t make sense with who you are trying to make John Custer out to be.
- Look Jackie Earl Haley is awesome as Odin Quincannon. But they aren’t telling us anything about him. Is he respected in the town of Annville? Is he feared? Does he employ most of the town? Is he a small-minded jerk who thinks he’s important, but the rest of the town laughs at? We know nothing, yet we are supposed to react to him simply because the music and his general demeanor is that of a jerk. I mean, so far the worst two things he’s done is pee in a briefcase and not care that much about the death of a prostitute.
- It’s episode 4 now, there’s been plenty of time to give Tulip an actual story, rather than just being a plot device for Jesse Custer, or being an angry black woman in a redneck Texas town.
- Jesse suddenly having 20+ hectares of his father’s land that he can sell to Odin is total deus ex machina, and it falls apart really quickly. So Jesse is living at the church, he’s devoted his life to God, but he’s holding onto land that could be sold to Odin Quincannon, in order to get things, like a new air conditioner for the church. Or he could actually live on the land. But no, the writers needed a plot device to have Jesse bring Odin to church.
- Hey, we just buried our good friend Lacey. So we’re going to have a wake at her whorehouse where she earned her living with a timer and a dish of Sour Patch Kids. So we’re sorry that Tulip gets upset about that, so let’s give out free sex for the next hour for everyone! Really? So women’s bodies are as cheap of a commodity of a round of drinks?
- The whole scene between Jesse and Emily is total crap. First, Jesse doesn’t notice how Emily is looking at him, at all. Then, he totally dismisses her concerns that the church doesn’t have any money. And finally, Jesse has to “prepare” for this big event, which seems to only entail smoking cigarettes and helping paint soldiers with Odin Quincannon, and has the single mother who is working two jobs and has three kids go pick up a TV. Jesse is supposed to be the hero of this show?
- Cassidy: But after that, these two fellas come by dressed as cowboy types on the outside, but sounded more like two blokes who just stumbled out of a pub in Clerkenwell. If you know what I’m trying to say.
Jesse: I have no idea.
- Jesse: Oh. And what were you smoking?
Cassidy: Attic insulation, mostly.
- Tulip: Am I the only one who sees a dead girl hanging by her ankles.
Mosey: Well, what did you expect? It’s Chinatown.
- Cassidy: Oh, “Wynken, Blynken, and Nod. Yeah, that sounds great. I just – I think he would prefer that to the saw, to be honest.
- DeBlanc: You need to bring him to us.
Cassidy: Yeah, but I can’t bring him to you without leaving, can I?
DeBlanc: When will you be back?
Fiore: Be specific.
Cassidy: Very soon.
- Odin: “My grandfather – Jonas Quincannon… One time, the Gormann Brothers, a pork concern out of Las Cruces, were hoping to move in on his territory. They were pressuring wholesalers, something like that. Uh, anyway, Jonas found out about it. He took care of it. Took care of them. Didn’t ask, didn’t warn, didn’t get angry. Just got what needed doing done. Nobody said a damn word. Yeah. His father – same way. My father. All of ’em. No one said boo.
- Tulip: Please, God, or whatever the hell you call yourself, I know we hate each other, but please, please, please, just this once, do the right thing here. I’ll be good. I swear I’ll be good. I’ll be so damn good, you won’t even know it’s me.
- Odin: Yeah, you know the rules. I don’t talk how my meat gets made. You don’t talk about your magic man in the sky.
Did you Notice – 7
- DeBlanc refers to the “thing” inside of Jesse as “He”, so the entity has gender. “
- 1980s video game nostalgia running wild in this series, with Q-Bert being played by Quincannon, and Defender in previous weeks.
- Jerry Cutler has been specifically name dropped twice now, as a face of Green Acre Group.
- Fiore acting like a child seeing advertising for the first time.
- Did Cassidy smile when Tulip was cradling him because of what she said, or because his head was pressed against her boobs?
- When Jesse’s father says, “Some people just can’t be saved.” to Jesse in the car, Jesse’s hand goes in the pocket of his coat where he has an ashtray that he stole Maybe Jesse believed that he couldn’t be saved.
- Jesse looks down at himself when he asks Odin, “Aren’t you afraid.” with a look on his face that he is very much afraid.
Mysteries – 6
- What the heck is causing sinkholes to occur so deep at the Quincannon fields that a girl could fall into it and be covered in mud?
- Who was the other two boys with Jesse and Tulip when they were smoking near the church?
- Fiore and Deblanc are on earth without permission. Who were they supposed to get permission from?
- What happened to Tulip’s mother? It’s pretty obvious that she is deceased, but how, why, when?
- Odin Quincannon was asking Jesse’s father to denounce God, why is that?
- What did Jesse see in Odin Quincannon’s room as he walked by?
Things I Liked – 5
- The opening scene was really well shot. I didn’t care for what happened, but in terms of atmosphere and camera and cinematography, it was done very well.
- Okay, I’m happy to see John Custer get some sort of personality here, even if I don’t particularly like the lack of a relationship between Jesse and his dad.
- I liked the introduction of Tulip as someone that Jesse grew up with. Even if it was just to say she’s been a bad influence on him from the beginning.
- Jackie Earl Haley is scary as hell as Odin Quincannon.
- Jesse’s sermon was really good. I find it interesting that the writers let a character tell us that television will not save us, and yet AMC has so many series that people are, dare I say, addicted to with religious fanaticism.
Questions Answered – 4
- Wynken, Blynken, and Nod is apparently the entity’s favorite song.
- The coffee can is the entity’s “domicile”.
- I got two things answered, how to pronounce characters names. It’s pronounced ‘kin-kannon’ and ‘fee-ore’ and not ‘quin-kannon’ or ‘fee-ore-ee’.
- The Quincannon worker who is always hanging around with Clive is named Vern.
Comic Book Connections – 3
- In the Hunters story arc, Bob Glover one of the Sexual Investigators is thrown out of a window by Cassidy, where he lands on top of a car with his ass in the air.
- In issue 27, Cassidy declares his love for Tulip, despite the fact that she’s Jesse’s girl.
- Overall, Cassidy proves himself that he is a good man when he tries, but that his appetites and addictions always get in the way.
Themes (new and continuing) – 2
Powerful versus the powerless
Patience versus time. Shortcuts.
A common theme in the Preacher comic book is that of dominance and submission, and you’re starting to see that a bit here in the show as well. Emily is able to be the alpha in her relationship with the very meek Miles, and so is uninterested in him, other than for sexual gratification. But with the stronger more private Jesse Custer, she is much more doe-eyed schoolgirl.
Then the whole speech from Odin Quincannon moves strongly into the theories of dominance when it comes to power. That his grandfather “took care of” competition, and nobody said a word, shows the type of power that Odin seeks, being able to dominate the town and everyone in it with his will. Example being him peeing in the mayor’s briefcase.
Fiore who is pretty much an innocent, being tempted/corrupted by a commercial for a hamburger. Cassidy who wants to try to be a good man, and a friend, can’t resist the opportunity to fall off the wagon and indulge in some drugs and sex. Tulip tries to be under control but her temper causes her to burst in and start hitting the man she thinks is Clive.
Sermon – 1
Besides, and here’s the real reason it ain’t easy gettin’ here and that’s… “What good’s it gonna do?” Right? I mean look at this world. You turn on the radio, surf the Internet – heck, look out your dang window. It’s crazy out there. We got wars in every direction, bombs going off in coffee shops and schools. Folks scared to hug each other on account of some new disease. Yep. The world is turning to shit. And you know what? It’s all your fault. You’ve turned your back on the Lord. Your despair has caused you to lose faith, embrace false idols. But these idols, these – these things… they won’t save you. Your whiskey won’t save you. Your money won’t save you. Sex, love, romance. They will not save you. Your parents. Your precious little children. That 55 inch flat screen TV out there… Nothing. Nothing will save you. You are sinners. You have strayed. You have forgotten the power of the Lord. But it’s not too late. I’m here to remind you that, starting today – no, starting right now, I’m gonna bring you back to God, one by one.
The Wrap Up
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Wow, this was just mediocre. If it wasn't for Jackie Earl Haley's performance, the score for this would be like a 4.0. I had to dig to find 5 things I liked about this episode. Nothing happened to any of the main characters, other than Tulip meeting Cassidy, and Jesse gives a speech about returning to God, and yet uses his power to control people instead of allowing them to do it of their own free will. I honestly, don't know where this is leading, and I don't mean that in a good way.
Hey, most television series have a bad episode from time-to-time, even the great ones. So I am hopeful, that next week this series gets back to what it does best. We shall see. See you in church everyone.